Leading Cases

Worker seriously injured in an explosion on a work-over rig. (McKenzie County 2011). Confidential settlement in 2013.

Wrongful death action brought on behalf of family of worker killed in an explosion on a work-over rig. (McKenzie County 2011). Confidential settlement in 2012.

Worker seriously injured after explosion on drilling rig. (Golden Valley County 2011). Confidential settlement in 2012.

Wrongful death action brought on behalf of father for loss of his son in a trucking accident. (Williams County 2011). Confidential settlement in 2012.

Worker seriously injured at a gas gathering plant. (McKenzie County 2009). Confidential settlement in 2012.

Wrongful death action brought on behalf of family of worker killed when his trenching crew ruptured a buried natural gas pipeline. (Mountrail County 2008). Confidential settlement in 2012.

Worker seriously injured during an explosion at a well site. (Mountrail County 2007). Confidential settlement in 2009.

Co-counsel with Wisconsin law firm representing Mr. Preder, a truck driver in the oil patch.  He seriously injured his back on a well-site after getting out of his truck to cross an icy earthen berm that surrounded a tank battery.  There was no stairway over the frozen earthen berm. (U.S. District Court, North Dakota, 2018) Confidential Settlement in 2019.

Co-counsel with Florida law firm, representing a worker while en-route from a well site near Williston, ND when a vehicle pulled out in front of Mr. Royal causing him to be seriously injured.  (U.S. District Court, North Dakota 2015).  Confidential settlement in 2018.

Co-counsel with Texas law firm representing a worker providing cementing services at well-site was seriously injured after falling through newly-opened unguarded hole in the rig floor.  Case settled after commencement of litigation. (2019)

Worker seriously injured after falling into a sump hole filled with scalding water. (Williams County 2012). Confidential settlement in 2015.

Truck driver seriously injured after his truck rolled over trying to avoid an on-coming semi-truck carrying a wide-load without a permit. (McKenzie County 2011). Confidential settlement in 2015.

Trucker driver was seriously burned by unexpected release of anhydrous ammonia at a loading facility (Dunn County, 2011).  Confidential settlement in 2016.

Worker seriously injured after falling from an oil rig during the down-rigging process (U.S. District Court North Dakota 2015).  Confidential settlement in 2017.

Oil rig worker seriously injured after falling from an oil rig when his safety harness failed (McKenzie County 2015).  Confidential settlement in 2017.

Co-counsel with Montana law firm, representing a truck driver’s family after truck driver tragically died as a result of an oncoming tractor truck crossing the center line causing a fiery crash (Mountrail, 2017) Confidential settlement in 2018.

Mr. Bargmann was charged with Cross Sexual Imposition: a Class A Felony (Stutsman County 2015).  Dismissed at the Preliminary Hearing.

Mr. Beach was charged with Possession Of Certain Materials Prohibited:  a Class C Felony and Promoting Sexual Performance By Minor:  A Class C Felony   (Barnes County 2014).  Dismissed at the Preliminary Hearing.

Mr. Tweeten was charged with Felonious Restraint; Class C Felony (Burleigh County 2013).  Case dismissed.

Mr. Cuthbertson charged with Gross Sexual Imposition; Class AA Felony (Morton County 2013).  Dismissed with prejudice.

Ms. Stanley charged with Aggravated Assault, Class C Felony (Burleigh County 2013) .  Dismissed with prejudice.

Mr. Adams charged with Violating Disorderly Conduct Restraining Order; Class A Misdemeanor (Burleigh County 2012).  Dismissed with prejudice.

Ms. Berg charged with Fleeing the Police and Hindering Law Enforcement; Class A Misdemeanors (Burleigh County 2012).  Dismissed with prejudice.

Mr. Zimprich charged with Homicide; a Class AA Felony.  (Burleigh County 2010). Not guilty for lack of criminal responsibility.

Mr. Hruby was charged with three counts of hunting violations.  (Burleigh County 2009).  Not guilty.

Mr. Huft was charged with Gross Sexual Imposition; a Class A Felony (Burleigh County 2009).  Not guilty.

Mr. Gosch was charged with Gross Sexual Imposition; a Class A Felony (Morton County 2008).  Class A Felony was dismissed second day of trial.  Mr. Gosch received deferred imposition to a misdemeanor.

Mr. Rhodes was charged with child abuse; a Class B Felony.  (Burleigh County 2005).  Directed verdict.

Mr. Worrel faced a second trial based upon the allegations of another young female player.  (LaMoure County 2001).  Not guilty.

Mr. Worrel was a high school girl’s basketball coach accused of felony sex offenses.  (LaMoure County 2000).  Not guilty.

Domestic assault case.  Ex-wife accused of assaulting her ex-husband when he interfered with her right to visit her son.  Pro bono defense at the request of the Attorney General of North Dakota.  (McLean County 1998). Not guilty.

Mr. Olander was charged with manslaughter. Dickson Law Office handled trial along with Nancy Hollander of Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward PA, Albuquerque, NM. (Oliver County 1998). Not guilty.

Mr. Moberg was charged with negligent homicide. (Williams County 1997). Not guilty.

Mr. Poitra was charged with sexual misconduct involving a minor. (D.N.D. 1995). Not guilty.

Mr. Youngbird was charged with gross sexual imposition involving a minor. (D.N.D. 1994). Not guilty. 

Mr. Finneman was charged with murdering his two month-old son. Change of venue was granted because of prejudicial pretrial publicity. Mr. Finneman’s “confession” was admitted into evidence. (Ward County, 1993). Not guilty. 

Mr. Owens, a nursing home administrator, was charged with embezzlement. (Adams County 1993). Not guilty. 

Mr. Pfleiger was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. (McLean County 1992). Not guilty. 

Mr. Trevino was charged with two reckless endangerment charges. (LaMoure County 1990). Not guilty.

Mr. Beauchamp was charged with negligent homicide. Synopsis of this case was published in “Not Guilty – The Newsletter for Criminal Defense Attorneys” (Jan. 1990). (Mercer County 1989). Not guilty.

Mr. Grad was charged with terrorizing. (Williams County 1987). Not guilty.

Mr. Bourgois was charged with felony theft. (D.N.D. 1985). Not guilty.

Mr. Frost was charged with Attempt to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud; a Class C Felony (Burleigh County 2009). Case dismissed with prejudice.

Mr. Rummel was charged with Misapplication of Entrusted Property and Public Servant Refusing to Perform Duty; Class A Misdemeanors (Dickey County 2015). Case dismissed with prejudice.

Ms. Goodman was charged with Criminal Trespass, a Class B Misdemeanor (Morton County 2016).  Case dismissed.  The case was later recharged as Engaging in a Riot, a Class B Misdemeanor.  Case dismissed.

Mr. Nason was charged with Reckless Endangerment, a Class A Misdemeanor (Ward County 2016).  Case dismissed.

Mr. Schwartzenberger, an elected Sheriff, was charged with Misapplication of Entrusted Funds, a Class A Misdemeanor (McKenzie County 2015).  Case dismissed.

Judge drops case against McKenzie County sheriff

McKenzie County Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger, left, sits next to his attorney, Tom Dickson, at the Burleigh County Courthouse in Bismarck in March during a discovery hearing for his charge of misuse of county government funds.

McKenzie County Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger has a clear court record, just in time for re-election.

On Monday, South Central District Judge Sonna Anderson dismissed his two-year-old misdemeanor charge of misapplication of entrusted property, related to nearly $1,000 in expenses on a county credit card in March 2015 at a Las Vegas sheriffs’ convention.

“It is time to put this issue to rest,” Anderson wrote.

Schwartzenberger was charged in November 2015 and fought the criminal case for almost his entire first term in office. The dismissal comes five months after Gov. Doug Burgum reinstated the embattled sheriff following a delayed removal proceeding, as well as an appeal Schwartzenberger won over the county commission related to authority over his employees.

Schwartzenberger did not return multiple phone calls and an email Tuesday seeking comment. A woman who answered the phone for the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office administration said he was attending a county commission meeting.

“The state failed to meet its burden to prove the elements of the offense,” Anderson wrote.

McKenzie County had no credit card policy at the time of Schwartzenberger’s disputed expenditures, according to court documents. McKenzie County meeting minutes indicate that commissioners did approve a credit card policy in August 2015.

Defense attorney Tom Dickson, speaking by phone from Rugby, said the case has been “a long, tough fight.”

“We have litigated this thing ‘til the cows came home, literally,” he said. “We won. It never was a case. Our position was pretty clear.”

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation probed the matter before Schwartzenberger was charged. McKenzie County Commission minutes indicate the sheriff, commissioners and then-auditor/treasurer wrangled over his use of the county credit card in 2015, even disputing his purchase of bulk candy for parades a year later.

Dickson said he represented Schwartzenberger pro bono in this case, which had been set for trial in a month.

“I don’t like bullies, and that’s exactly what this case was,” he said, referring to perceived attacks from the Attorney General’s Office, which prosecuted the sheriff.

Since Schwartzenberger returned in early August, eight deputies have resigned from the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office, most of them leaving for other agencies. At least two former deputies have filed labor grievances.

Late last year, Schwartzenberger indicated his intent to run for a second term.

Ms. Sherven was charged with Conspiracy to Deliver a Controlled a Substance, a Class A Felony, Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Methamphetamine, a Class A Felony (Stark County 2016).  Motion to Suppress granted.  Case dismissed.

Mr. Scott was charged with Gross Sexual Imposition, a Class AA Felony; 20 year mandatory minimum sentence (Morton County 2017). Case dismissed.

Mr. Johnson was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Burglary (Class B Felony), Burglary (Class B Felony), and Aggravated Assault (Class C Felony).  (Burleigh County 2019) Case Dismissed.

Defendant charged with Luring Minor by Computer (Class C Felony).  (Mercer County 2019) Case Dismissed.

Mr. Schoch was charged with Resisting Officer (Class B Misdemeanor) (City of Dickinson, 2020).  Case dismissed.  In addition, Mr. Schoch was also charged with Physical Obstruction of a Government Function (Class A Misdemeanor) and Preventing Arrest (Class A Misdemeanor) (Stark County, 2020).  Case dismissed.

Mr. Bitz was charged with Child Neglect or Abuse, a Class C Felony (Morton County 2021).
Case dismissed.
Mr. Irey was charged with Violation of a Domestic Violence Protection Order, a Class A Misdemeanor (Burleigh County 2021).
Case dismissed.
Ms. Rueb was charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (Fentanyl), a Class A Misdemeanor (Mercer County 2021).
Case dismissed.

A plaintiff in Turtle Mountain Tribal Court does not have the right to bring a direct action against an insurance company. (633 F.3d 680 8th Cir. 2011)

The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that the trial court could not grant summary judgment without allowing the parties an opportunity to be heard.  (94, 679 NW 2d 257 ND 2004)  Case settled after remand.

North Dakota Supreme Court held that, absent a special relationship or interference with the driver, there is no basis for liability on the part of passengers of an intoxicated driver and that an action for civil conspiracy requires a showing of damages. (589 N.W.2d 551 ND 1999)

Represented Mrs. Fredericks in a jurisdictional issue regarding an accident that occurred on an Indian Reservation. United State Supreme Court ruled that tribal court did not have subject matter jurisdiction. (117 S.Ct. 1404 1997)

This lawsuit arose under the open records law of North Dakota. Rural newspapers sought access to GNDA’s financial records to prove that tort reform efforts were being financed by tobacco and waste companies. (529 N.W.2d 830 ND 1995); (564 N.W.2d 304 ND 1997) North Dakota Supreme Court ultimately ruled against disclosure under the open records law. The extent of the tobacco industry’s involvement ultimately came to light in a series of newspaper articles when ex-employees came forward with the information. 

The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that the prosecution may not exercise peremptory strikes based upon the gender of the prospective juror. (501 N.W.2d 739 ND 1993).

North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that the prosecutor must comply with defendant’s pretrial discovery requests. (493 N.W.2d 697 ND 1992).

Represented Dr. Story in a post-conviction proceeding. (788 P.2d 617 WY 1990) Wyoming Supreme Court, in 3-2 decision, affirmed the trial court’s denial of a motion for a new trial.

Mr. Fredericks, an enrolled member of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, obtained a judgment in Tribal Court against a car dealership whose principal place of business was off the reservation. (462 N.W.2d 164 ND 1990) North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that State Courts could enforce Tribal Court judgments obtained against non-Indian corporations, as a matter of comity.

Part of a trilogy of decisions that established the right of a parent to sue for loss of consortium of a severely injured minor child. (430 N.W.2d 558 ND 1988)

Represented the accused in an armed robbery case. (810 F.2d 184 8th Cir. 1987) U.S. District Court dismissed the indictment for violation of right to speedy trial. Government appealed. Dismissal was affirmed by Eighth Circuit.

Represented a 20-year old man rendered quadriplegic in an aquatic diving accident. Question of law appealed to North Dakota Supreme Court regarding application of Recreational Use Statute to political subdivisions. (415 N.W.2d 505 ND 1987) Landmark decision on behalf of plaintiff. Case subsequently settled.

Defendant private investigator was sued as a result of termination of school superintendent. (774 F.2d 1170 8th Cir. 1985) U. S. District Court dismissed complaint for plaintiff’s failure to file non-resident bond. Eighth Circuit reversed and reinstated complaint. District Court subsequently dismissed complaint on motion for summary judgment.

North Dakota farmers brought a statewide class action against a chemical company for two-tiered pricing scheme. (Traill County, North Dakota, Civil No. 96-59). Settlement.

National class action against manufacturer of the drug Synthroid. (Mountrail County, North Dakota, Civil No. 8143). Settlement.

Elderly North Dakota citizens brought a statewide class action fraud claim against insurance companies who sold them nursing home insurance policies and then increased premiums by as much as 600 percent. (U.S. District Court, Southeastern Division of North Dakota, Civil No. A3-97-152). Settlement included expanding the suit into a nationwide class action settlement.

State class action against nursing home insurance companies. (2001 ND 154, 632 N.W.2d 429 and 2002 ND 148, 651 N.W.2d 683). Settlement.

The plaintiff, a voluntary fireman, was severely burned while fighting a grass fire. (Burleigh County 2006). Trial court refused to adopt “Fireman’s Rule of Immunity.”

Plaintiff, a state senator, sued the North Dakota Secretary of State and Attorney General for wrongly interpreting the state campaign finance laws. (Grand Forks County, 2002).  The Court ruled for the plaintiff and imposed costs against the Secretary of State and the Attorney General.

Plaintiff was injured at his place of employment by the negligence of a temporary employee.  (131, 649 NW 2d 218. ND 2002). Plaintiff’s verdict.  Case settled after appeal.

Plaintiff farmers brought breach of warranty claim against manufacturer of cattle feed supplement. (Burleigh County 1998). Plaintiffs’ verdict.

Testamentary transfers of elderly widow were affirmed by trial court and Supreme Court. (16, 575 NW2d 425 ND 1998).

Crop spraying business was harmed when wrong kind of fuel was delivered to fuel tanks. (Griggs County 1998). Plaintiff’s verdict.

Plaintiff brought a products liability action against an asbestos company. (559 N.W.2d 204 ND 1997). Plaintiff’s verdict.

Plaintiff, a 64-year-old handicapped man, slipped and fell in entrance of store. (Burleigh County 1997). Plaintiff’s verdict.

Plaintiffs were injured in a motorcycle/car accident. (Turtle Mountain Tribal Court 1994). Plaintiffs’ verdict.

Plaintiff was injured in an automobile accident. (Turtle Mountain Tribal Court 1992). Plaintiff’s verdict.

Plaintiffs brought a bad faith claim against an insurance company. (McLean County 1992). Plaintiffs’ verdict.

Plaintiff, a farm manager, brought an action alleging a breach of an employment contract. (Grant County 1988). Plaintiff’s verdict.

Plaintiff was injured in a motorcycle accident. (Burleigh County 1988). Plaintiff’s verdict.

Plaintiff was injured in oil field accident. (653 F. Supp. 512 DND 1987). Plaintiff’s verdict.

Plaintiff was a farmer who was injured on a Haybuster Undercutter. (Emmons County 1987). Plaintiff’s verdict of compensatory and punitive damages.

Plaintiff sued insurance company for policy limits on apartment building destroyed by fire. (401 N.W.2d 155 ND 1987). Plaintiff’s verdict.

Clients’ daughter tragically died as a result of a head on collision caused by a drunken driver going the wrong way on the interstate (Burleigh, 2016).  Jury Trial, 2019.

Plaintiff was injured in a bicycle/motor vehicle crash.  Case settled at mediation.

Plaintiff suffered hail damage to home and property (Burleigh County 2020).  Breach of contract and Bad Faith claim against insurer.  Case settled after commencement of litigation.

Plaintiffs family member tragically died as a result of motorcycle/truck crash.  Case settled at Mediation.

A municipal judge was sued for issuing a temporary restraining order in a domestic dispute. (599 R. Supp. 288 DND 1984) Judgment granted in favor of Judge Beauchamp.

Represented Mr. Heidt, a farmer, and sought a preliminary injunction enjoining the Bank of North Dakota from foreclosing on his family farm. (372 N.W.2d 857 ND 1985). District Court denied injunction. Supreme Court reversed and enjoined the foreclosure.